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Where can I find a comprehensive list of products that can be produced without mining?

This question would perhaps be better changed to ask "Is mineral extraction from seawater sustainable?"

The answers seem to focus on that aspect of my question.

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  • Before you consider this, do the current answers to that question match the edited version you're considering? If so, then the edit is still worth doing. If not, then I would leave the question as-is and ask the more specific question separately if you need to know more about that specific topic.
    – Aarthi
    Mar 27, 2013 at 19:40

2 Answers 2

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I would say only change a question to make it on-topic, if it wasn't on-topic already. That way the original asker gets an answer to a question that is as close as possible to his original question, even when his question was actually off-topic.

If the question should be considered on-topic anyway, then I think the question should not be edited to match the answer. That'd be the wrong way round. If the answer doesn't answer the asked on-topic question, then it is a bad answer (for that question!), although it may contain useful content.

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As one of the people who's answered that question, please allow me to explain why I answered in the way that I did.

  • Open-ended questions are not suitable for the Stack Exchange format.
  • Nor are requests for shopping recommendations.
  • Nor are requests to links to information elsewhere.

However, many such questions that start out as one of those things, can be turned into questions that are suitable. And one way to do it, is to give answers that address the underlying principles behind what's being asked. By providing an answer that discusses the concepts, it effectively turns the question into a conceptual one. This is has worked very well on Physics.SE, and I think it works here too.

All the answers you've got say essentially the same thing: the list of minerals that are viably harvestable are those that are at high concentrations in sea salt. And the core of the real answer is that those need very little inputs to produce the outputs: so there's the conceptual answer, that points to the underlying question.

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